Indirect validation of tropospheric nitrogen dioxide retrieved from the OMI satellite instrument: Insight into the seasonal variation of nitrogen oxides at northern midlatitudes

  • Lamsal L
  • Martin R
  • Van Donkelaar A
 et al. 
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We assess the standard operational nitrogen dioxide (NO2) data product
(OMNO2, version 2.1) retrieved from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument
(OMI) onboard NASA's Aura satellite using a combination of aircraft and
surface in situ measurements as well as ground-based column measurements
at several locations and a bottom-up NOx emission inventory over the
continental US. Despite considerable sampling differences, NO2 vertical
column densities from OMI are modestly correlated (r = 0.3-0.8) with in
situ measurements of tropospheric NO2 from aircraft, ground-based
observations of NO2 columns from MAX-DOAS and Pandora instruments, in
situ surface NO2 measurements from photolytic converter instruments, and
a bottom-up NOx emission inventory. Overall, OMI retrievals tend to be
lower in urban regions and higher in remote areas, but generally agree
with other measurements to within +/- 20%. No consistent seasonal bias
is evident. Contrasting results between different data sets reveal
complexities behind NO2 validation. Since validation data sets are
scarce and are limited in space and time, validation of the global
product is still limited in scope by spatial and temporal coverage and
retrieval conditions. Monthly mean vertical NO2 profile shapes from the
Global Modeling Initiative (GMI) chemistry-transport model (CTM) used in
the OMI retrievals are highly consistent with in situ aircraft
measurements, but these measured profiles exhibit considerable
day-to-day variation, affecting the retrieved daily NO2 columns by up to
40 %. This assessment of OMI tropospheric NO2 columns, together with
the comparison of OMI-retrieved and model-simulated NO2 columns, could
offer diagnostic evaluation of the model.

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  • L. N. Lamsal

  • R. V. Martin

  • A. Van Donkelaar

  • E. A. Celarier

  • E. J. Bucsela

  • K. F. Boersma

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